It came to me like a big fat golden bolt of lightning.
“There are no marketing experts left on the planet. None.”
Anybody who says otherwise needs Tazering.
Fact: we are living in crazy times when everything we thought we knew is being made obsolete or redundant.
Fact: the only way to get back in the game is to recognise that we need to start learning all this new and shiny stuff. And not just in a superficial ‘read-a-blog post’ kind of way, but also in a ‘roll-up-your-sleeves, get-your-arms-elbow-deep’ kind of way.
There is stuff to learn all around us. And it’s the people who are prepared to start learning again that will reap the biggest rewards. And no, I don’t mean a big fat pay-cheque (although that comes in handy) I mean a job that you love, a job you can talk passionately about. A job that inspires others around you.
If you’re over 38 and reading this you know exactly where I am coming from.
There are no freebies in life or business. Nobody is going to give you credit for sitting on your ass while the world passes you by. You literally have to “Be the change”. You have to be hungrier than the next person and smarter than the one chasing your job.
In marketing and business, the rule book got ripped up when the social media revolution collided with the global recession. Nothing will ever be the same again. The quicker we all accept that, the quicker we will all move on.
Marketing today is about embracing the craziness, the unknown and the unpredictable and trying to assimilate it with original creative ideas, data, insights and commercial nous.
Brands that get it right manage to use that mix of irreverence, entertainment and insight and create compelling brand platforms and experiences on which to market their products and services. The success of Cadbury’s Gorilla, Compare the Market’s Meerkats, Unilever’s ‘Smile activated’ vending machine , Google Coca Cola re-imagination , Izzy’s RFID ice cream scoopers, Google’s Project Glass are testament to this.
Today’s brands are quickly moving past just creating content to become creators of experiences, of tools, of applications, of value. In short – of amazing stuff. This is happening at a rapid pace – today’s technology is more mashable, flexible and adaptable than ever, and today’s social networks mean that great ideas and experiences spread like wildfire.
It’s not about buying attention any more it’s about earning it. And earning it is ten times harder than paying for it!
However, whatever the brand experience that you are trying to create, you need to make damn sure your products and services stack up. No point shouting about a shit product!
The modern day Marketing Director or CMO has it pretty tough. All that old world knowledge becomes your competitive advantage, but only if you can fuse it with all the new world wizardry.
If I was to create a bucket list of 101 things Marketing Directors need to be able to do before they die, this is how it would begin to shape up:
1). Learn how to do wireframes for a mobile optimised site.
2). Use Facebook insights to analyse a recent campaign.
3). Set up your own blog on Tumblr or WP and begin to tell your own story.
4). Conduct a video interview with a customer using your FLIP or iPhone and publish to video platform.
5). Learn how to design your own infographic.
6). Be able to give a presentation on Gamification and actually know what you’re talking about.
In the Crazy Age you have to get your hands dirty. You have to learn to make things, build things, create things and not just focus on value propositions and marketing communications. You have to be an inventor and an analyst as well as a visionary and a leader. You need more than just a theoretical understanding of how things work, you need a practical one.
The pain you will endure through this marketing metamorphosis will be akin to the kind of pain only parents with kids know about, when after a wild night on the beers they jump on your head at 5am.
But I promise you this: when you get to the other side it will make a lot more sense than it does right now. You will be better prepared, better equipped and most importantly fired-up by the endless possibilities that the new world presents.
So, be prepared to make learning part of life’s adventure and don’t sit back and think about the good old days. Well, not for too long anyway.